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S. Korea-Singapore FTA to take effect in March

People’s Daily, Beijing, January 31, 2006

S. Korea-Singapore FTA to take effect in March

South Korea and Singapore agreed to begin implementation of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on March 2, according to South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday.

The accord, which was ratified by South Korean National Assembly last December, calls for South Korea to remove tariffs on 91.6 percent of its 10,315 trade items with Singapore within 10 years.

In return, Singapore will scrap tariffs on all trade items with South Korea once the deal becomes effective, the ministry said in a statement.

Moreover, Singapore agreed to grant preferential tariff to the products produced at Kaesong Industrial Complex in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in future, the statement added.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex is under construction jointly by South Korea and the DPRK.

About 15 South Korean small and medium size enterprises have entered the pilot zone of the complex and started production.

South Korea signed the free trade accord with Singapore in August 2004.

The statement also said the "implementation of the South Korea- Singapore FTA will help South Korean companies to exploit the Southeast Asian market and enhance trade with Singapore."

South Korea has signed free trade deals with Chile, Singapore and the European Free Trade Association, comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

 source: Xinhua